July 29, 1999
San Antonio, TX -- Elmer, an eight-month-old gentoo penguin at SeaWorld San Antonio, is alive and well thanks to a quick-thinking employee who found a sticky solution to an even stickier problem.
SeaWorld penguin specialist Cyndi Laljer took fast action to save the life of an unhatched gentoo chick when she discovered a partially cracked egg in the marine life adventure park's Penguin Encounter habitat. She applied a liberal coat of Elmer's Glue-All® to prevent the egg's membrane from drying and tearing. After two weeks in an incubator, the chick inside the egg began to hatch. With a little help escaping from the glue-reinforced shell, "Elmer the Penguin" was hatched into the world.
"The chances of an unhatched chick surviving in a cracked egg are very slim. Upon examination, we realized that the egg's membrane was still intact and the chick was still alive, so we had to try something fast," Laljer said. "I remembered that Elmer's Glue is non-toxic, and thought it would be the perfect adhesive to protect the egg. Once the egg was coated, we still had some concerns about the chick's survival. It didn't have much room inside to grow, because one side of the egg was completely pushed in."
Today, Elmer delights and educates thousands of visitors to SeaWorld San Antonio. Since saving Elmer's life, SeaWorld bird specialists have successfully used the glue technique to reinforce other cracked eggs and save the lives of other bird species. They plan to write a scientific paper on the technique for publication to parks nationwide.
"People often tell us 'look what you can do with Elmer's Glue,' but using Elmer's Glue to save the life of an unborn penguin is a real first," said Mitch Kon, vice president of marketing for Elmer's Products, Inc. "That was very creative emergency thinking on the part of SeaWorld."